At a time when national Express are introducing new routes in the UK and uplifting timetables on other routes, Dublin Express, part of National Express Limited, has now announced plans to invest around £8.5m on a fleet of eight new state-of-the-art Caetano Levante III coaches over the next 12 months on its new Dublin to Belfast route.
The investment also means the creation of 40 new jobs in drivers, management, maintenance and retail predominantly in Belfast and Dungannon. This builds on Dublin Express’ success in operating high frequency services between Dublin Airport and Dublin City.
Dublin Express’ General Manager Rory Fitzgerald, said: “We are excited to bring the Dublin Express brand to Northern Ireland and particularly Belfast, offering a new high quality experience to passengers on the M1 corridor. The new route is a significant milestone linking the two most populated cities on the island of Ireland and adds to our extensive network across the UK.
“We’ve been receiving a high volume of requests from customers asking for this service which itself stood out as an under-served route. We estimate the number of Northern Ireland residents using Dublin Airport annually at over 1 million due to its geographic location on the north side of the city, the seamless M1 motorway and the numerous connections to mainland Europe, the Middle East and of course transatlantic flights to the US.
“We also believe our new coaches will be a step up in quality, safety and comfort to anything seen on the route previously with our bespoke coaches fitted to the latest Euro VI diesel specification and a range of state-of-the-art safety equipment. The vehicles are fully accessible with an onboard lift and wheelchair space, leather reclining seats, free WiFi, toilet and USB charging points at each seat."
Two key elements in helping to achieve climate goals are encouraging rural and urban populations to use public transport. National Express is committed to providing these options on the Belfast – Dublin Airport – Dublin City corridor, offering customers the choice to use a reliable, sustainable and great value option so they can ditch their cars and switch to coach travel, without having to worry about the hassle and expense of airport or city parking.
National Express already has a strong track record in working closely with transport authorities, securing investment in zero emission vehicles and local infrastructure to enhance public transport networks.
The company’s green credentials already see it already operating 110 fully electric buses in the West Midlands (UK), which will increase to over 500 by the end of December 2024. 180 of the electric buses will be in operation in Coventry as it becomes the UK's first All Electric Bus City, and the remainder will operate across the West Midlands following a record £150m investment by National Express. It also operates 20 hydrogen buses with Birmingham City Council as part of plans to scale up to hundreds more in the next two to three years.